New words for a new world (of networked learning)

New words can act like lenses to see the world from a new perspective (Credits: Ben Christensen / FlickR)

New words can act like lenses to see the world from a new perspective (Credits: Ben Christensen / FlickR)

A language is a very strong indicator of the vibrancy of its community: if it evolves, it indicates that there are very active elements in the community which push it forward and keep it alive. On the other hand, reactionary forces (like the Académie Française) try to maintain the ‘purity’ of a language. This is a dangerous and meaningless stance though, as no language would have come out of our ancestors’ borborygms, hadn’t it been for attempts at changing our language.

The new words we come up with usually reflect needs, within our language community, to describe new phenomena that are affecting us, new realities we wish to depict. It is in this spirit that I’d like to share some ‘new words for a new world’ which might help us make sense of our changing networked learning world.

Some of these terms were coined a while ago (and by others), some I just thought about recently. See what you think…

  • Confusiasm: (coined by Riff Fullan at a KM4Dev meeting). We are learning specialists. We don’t settle for answers, we want to have more questions, deeper questions. We can cope with paradox and the discomfort of not having a silver bullet. We are enthusiastic about being confused, that means we are learning and questioning. We are confusiasts…
  • Facipulation: (coined by Carl Jackson?) Facilitation is about creating the space for others to engage meaningfully. Yet simple and subtle arrangements (the venue set-up, facilitation method etc.) can influence the dynamics. In that way you can facipulate a crowd towards its mutual engagement. This does not mean you actually create the results, the conversations should remain owned by the participants, but you create good conditions for this to happen, you facipulate for a better common good.
  • N-gagement: Engagement can come with just one other person, and that is arguably the best scale of engagement possible, with more time and capacity for listening and talking deeply. For social change to happen, however, we need to have engagement with multiple parties, through structured multi-stakeholder engagement processes or bursts of interaction with them. This is N-gagement: engagement with N people to bring more insights and capacities to the mix.
  • Netlurking: I last blogged about banning the term ‘lurking’ and I stand by my ground on this. However this Netlurking term comes to mind when thinking about all these networks that we are so easily getting into nowadays (LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, other discussion gruops etc.) in which we are just testing the waters before deciding whether we feel like taking a deeper swim. This is thus not a good term but an easy term to catch.
  • Peerspectives: We need to hear perspectives from various people. But sometimes the best way to get advices and useful conversations is from our peers. They are different perspectives to ours, but they share a lot of common history and understanding. Peerspectives help us improve our practice.

In the future I will try to add new terms to this list as and when. For now, do these words make any sense in your world?

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3 thoughts on “New words for a new world (of networked learning)

  1. I found Carl’s remarks again:
    My current preference is for titles that are blends of existing words. I cam across “imagineer” which was for creative designers who worked on theme park concepts / experiences. How about “knowligator” from knowledge and navigator.

    An he signs off:
    Happy complexifusing,

  2. Right, I’ll add that to the post.

    There are various other terms that Carl and a little group dreamt up at the KM4Dev 2008 (Almada) event but looking back at those notes ( I didn’t strongly relate to many of those, apart from perhaps ‘newphoria’ and ‘notledge’.
    But the idea of a ‘guerilla wordfare’ and competition for words for change is still spot-on!



  3. Facipulation is by Carl Jackson I think.
    Carl, if you are reading along, I know you have more ‘KM new speak’.

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